Guest post by Rabbi Micha Golshevsky

“Man is Always Responsible…”

The Kotzker Rebbe, zt”l, remarked that he learned life-long lessons from the Mishnah in Bava Kama 26: “אדם מועד לעולם”— “Man is always responsible for his actions.” He was careful to never damage any property whatsoever.[1]

The Kedushas Tzion of Bobov, zt”l, explained, “A more perfected person purifies himself to such a great extent that he never makes a move without hisbonenus, without carefully contemplating his actions. It follows that such a person will never cause damage.”[2]

Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, zt”l, was just such a person. One Shabbos, when one man arrived in shul without his glasses, the Rav approached him and asked if was refraining from carrying his glasses on Shabbos.

“No,” answered the man. “I broke my glasses.”

Rav Shlomo Zalman was astounded. He wondered aloud, “How could you have broken your glasses? Do you see my glasses? I have had this pair for decades. Every night I place them somewhere where they cannot come to harm, so how could they possibly break?”

On another occasion, he had a student at his home. The young man was a bit preoccupied, and since he was not paying attention to his actions, he broke a glass.

Rav Shlomo Zalman smiled at him good-naturedly and remarked, “Do you know? I have never broken a glass in my whole life.”

He explained, “I don’t say this because I care about the glass. I point this out because a glass if for drinking, not breaking.”

When he saw the shards of broken glass his smile grew and he observed, “Did you know that this cup is from the time when the Turkish Sultan ruled Israel?”[3]
[1] תולדות אדם, ליקוטים, דף קט”ז
[2] קדושת ציון, חלק ב’, ע’ קנ”ז
[3] חכו ממתקים, ע’ קפ”ג

Rabbi Golshevsky’s blog, A Fire Burns in Breslov, can be found here.

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